Kevin J Thomson/Courtesy of the artist
We open this week’s show with the Scottish band CHVRCHES, which has honed its hook-writing prowess to a sharpness that could cut glass. Its fourth album, Screen Violence, pairs sleek synth-pop with Lauren Mayberry’s reflections on gender, the Internet and the entertainment industry. Singer-songwriter Madi Diaz has been floating around for the last 15 years or so, but her new fifth album History Of A Feeling finds her leveling up in a big way; it’s a bold and confident, beautifully written collection of bracing, honest songs. Chapel Hart is a fast-rising country trio from Mississippi whose new album, The Girls Are Back in Town, pulls threads of rock, blues, folk and gospel. And Tré Burt is an inventive folksinger signed to John Prine’s label; his second album, titled You, Yeah, You, reflects on mental health and social justice.
Albums by the Eminem-aligned Atlanta rapper GRIP, the versatile and intriguing singer-songwriter Indigo De Souza, Oscar-nominated jazz polymath Terence Blanchard and legendary avant-garde drummer Andrew Cyrille round out the mix, along with a packed lightning round led by pop star Halsey and folk-pop supergroup Big Red Machine. Joined by writers Gavin Godfrey and Christina Lee, as well as NPR Music’s Jewly Hight, Ann Powers, Marissa Lorusso and Nate Chinen, guest host Stephen Thompson shares the gang’s picks for the best new albums out Aug. 27.
1. CHVRCHES — Screen Violence
Featured Song: “Final Girl”
2. Madi Diaz — History Of A Feeling
Featured Song: “Woman In My Heart”
3. Chapel Hart — The Girls Are Back In Town
Featured Song: “You Can Have Him Jolene”
4. Tré Burt — You, Yeah, You
Featured Song: “Sweet Misery”
5. GRIP — I Died For This?!
Featured Song: “The Lox! (feat. Tate 228)”
6. Indigo De Souza — Any Shape You Take
Featured Song: “Way Out”
7. Terence Blanchard — Absence
Featured Song: “The Elders”
8. Andrew Cyrille Quartet — The News
Featured Song: “Go Happy Lucky”
Notable releases for Aug. 27: Halsey — If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power; Big Red Machine — How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?; Steve Gunn — Other You; Marisa Anderson & William Tyler — Lost Futures; The Bug — Fire; Yann Tiersen — Kerber; Mouse Rat — The Awesome Album; Nite Jewel — No Sun; Southern Avenue — Be The Love You Want; Carlos Henriquez — The South Bronx Story; Kenny Garrett — Sounds From The Ancestors